View Full Version : Considering the best software for my case

04-28-2012, 10:46 PM
Hello, and let me just say this is a fascinating website: dauntingly so, even.

I have read through the Quickstart guide and this forum's poll thread and dozens of other threads here as well as quite a number of websites... I'm still not at all clear on the particular details of what software is best for my case. To that end, I would very much appreciate you folks' suffering a question which I admit you have clearly put a lot of time and effort into precluding ;)

I'd very much like to make one fantasy world map. I'd be happy making a map in one of my games' map editors except I want to map the poles and I won't have an idea of what they really look like on a simple rectangular map.

At length I've drawn my first continent in GIMP and learned how to map it to a sphere (though only temporarily, since that gets rid of the layers). Now it seems that actually GIMP only maps part of your image to part of a sphere, and doesn't give an actual globe effect; isn't that so? Ok, well, I can happily deal with a 2D map that I can check looks okay in 3D.

I wonder if my project is best suited to GIMP, though. At the moment, the other software I am really considering is Fractal Terrains 3: that is because I am very interested in this claim that it will make realistic terrain, map the appropriate climate zones, and even weather. From my readings, I have not seen that another program does weather. Plus, I imagine it will draw better than I ever will in GIMP: I'm setting the bar on a map editor map because I have never had reason to consider myself much of an artist insofar as drawing and such.

But if I get FT3 for that benefit, will FT3 (or FT3+GIMP) let me test if my poles look alright at least insofar as GIMP will? I suppose it will since I think it has multiple projections. Or should I look more into one of the many other software?

I guess the last necessity for this software is it should let me have a few geographic specifications: like there should be land on the south pole connected to a larger, not-all-polar continent, and a fairly nearby northern continent should have a stretch of coast along the equator. The latter specific is by far the more necessary, I think, but I did go to all this bother about the south pole already, so let's not discard it outright.

I appreciate your input.

04-29-2012, 01:01 AM
Hi there Ver, and welcome to the Guild. As to your question regarding mapping an image to a globe in GIMP, you should be able to map your entire world to a globe. I wrote a tutorial on the matter a while back (you can find a link to it in the "Tutorials" section of my sig). Personally, I use GIMP along with Wilbur (which also can help to either generate realistic terrain, or manipulate a height map you've made in another program, such as GIMP). I have not worked with FT3 myself but I have heard good things about it. Waldronate, another member here, could probably advise you on the relative differences and benefits of FT3 and Wilbur, so I'll leave that to him.


04-29-2012, 01:11 AM
Thanks for the reply.

Oh. Maybe I don't know how to turn and see the rest of my globe once the image is mapped to it, then? When I have tried to follow your tutorial I just see the section of the world I position initially.

04-29-2012, 04:36 AM
Oh I understand now. Yes, once you apply the the "Map Globe" filter the image is fixed, and you won't be able to rotate it. However, if you want to be able to get a 360 view of the map, you can create several different images of the map, rotating each by say 10-15 degrees, and then combine them all into a tiff image. I don't know, there might be other ways of accomplishing what you're after but this is the only trick I know.


04-29-2012, 12:46 PM
I like to recommend that everyone buy a copy of Fractal Terrains and a couple of copies for their friends. I admit that statement reeks of self-interest because every copy of FT sold provides me with royalties, but I still like to make that recommendation.

If you're interested in FT, download the demo from the ProFantasy web site. It does everything that the full-featured demo does except that the export resolution is limited. It will indeed render your image as a globe and let you rotate that globe. Just import your image as an image overlay that covers the whole world and use the Orthographic projection (hold down Shift on the pan tool to change the center of projection, which will rotate the globe).

Wilbur will do much the same thing: load the image as a texture; use Surface>>Map Info to set the top to 90, left to -180, right to +180 and bottom to -90; then use Window>>Map Projection with the Orthographic projection to view your world as a globel (click and drag on the image to move it).

Both of these programs will let you look at a globe and both offer some form of editing/generation for "worlds". There are lots of other programs out there. Most folks around here that use FT or Wilbur seem to use them as a starting point for generating eroded light maps and then use that information as the starting point for maps in other programs such as GIMP of Photoshop.

04-29-2012, 03:00 PM
Thank you for the replies. I'll try Wilbur and the demo and then pick :)